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DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a hormone produced inside your body. It is a far more powerful form of testosterone, that does much more damage to your hair because it binds more quickly to certain receptors in your hair follicles.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone, which gives male characteristics to the body. This is actually in the body of both men and women, even though most people think of it being only male. Testosterone is what produces secondary male sex characteristics, like more bone and muscle mass, as well as more and thicker body and facial hair.
In women the body produces only about 10% of the amount of testosterone as in males, although women have a higher sensitivity to the hormone. Women with thick facial hair may only have slightly elevated amounts of testosterone in their system, but the elevated response shows dramatically.
About 5% of the testosterone in the body gets converted to DHT. This is done by a process that can be blocked. Since it is this DHT that causes hair loss, this is worth looking into.
DHT is produced by testosterone interacting with an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This happens within the adrenal glands, prostate, testes, and significant to your hair loss, in the hair follicles.
Now that you know what is DHT, this gives two possible paths to block DHT in your system.
How to block DHT? Have a look at the effectiveness of the Super Grow Laser. One of the main theories of how it works to stop hair loss is that it is increasing the circulation in the follicles and thus flushing out the DHT. Since Low Level Laser Therapy is useful for more than just hair loss, this is a reasonable theory.
Increased circulation carries away the concentrations of DHT blocking your hair follicle from doing its job, and improves the health of the scalp and skin at the same time.
DHT blocking shampoos are also sold, which are designed to achieve the exact same effect - block DHT from harming your hair follicles. Since the DHT is produced within the hair follicle itself, and is responsible for choking off the growth of the hair, it makes sense to approach it also from the outside.
One of the common questions we get is whether we recommend stopping all other products when using the laser. The answer is no - if you want to try a DHT blocking shampoo along with your laser treatments, go for it. DHT blocking shampoo isn't required to have results from the laser, but it certainly isn't going to do any harm.
Since DHT is the common enemy, there is no conflict in using something else to reduce DHT or block DHT.
The other approach to reduce DHT is to cut it off at the source before it gets made. Since DHT is made by a reaction with 5-alpha-reductase, is there a way to reduce DHT by stopping this reaction? Yes, although there can be some serious side effects.
There are two drugs which are aimed at stopping the reaction that produces DHT, finasteride and dutasteride. Both of these were initially designed to halt a condition known as BPH, which is a prostate condition also caused by DHT. Both are 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, with finasteride effective on one form of the enzyme, and dutasteride effective on both forms of 5-alpha-reductase (there are two types of this chemical).
Finasteride is approved for treating both male pattern baldness and BPH, while dutasteride is used off-label for treating male pattern baldness.
Both of these have side effects, and the side effects can continue long after stopping their use. Both are designed specifically to reduce DHT, which is after all, a compound your body needs some of, even if you don't want it in your hair follicles.
The side effects of inhibiting DHT production with these drugs include memory loss, loss of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, male breast cancer (yes, it happens), gynecomastia (man-boobs), depression, and lack of mental focus or clarity. Women of child-bearing age can have birth defects occur because of these DHT blockers.
Now, while it is our philosophy that you should feel free to use other products along with the laser, we don't want you to go through this. So we don't recommend these approaches to reducing DHT.
One smart approach to DHT reduction is to use natural DHT blockers instead of drugs with nasty side effects. Enter Saw Palmetto.
Saw Palmetto has been used for many years as a natural remedy for a variety of conditions. One of the uses is for BPH, the prostate condition already mentioned. It is thought that it does this through the same general mechanism - blocking the reaction that makes DHT in the body, only it does this naturally.
There is evidence to suggest that the Saw Palmetto / DHT reduction also has no side effects, making it a good alternative to drugs. This can be tried with the laser if desired, it may be effective (we haven't tested it), and seems to carry no negatives with it.
Even if it only helps reduce DHT a little bit, this can help you in the fight against hair loss.
Of course, our preferred recommendation of how to block DHT is the Super Grow Laser. The laser has a 92.5% effectiveness in giving thicker, fuller hair, so you can have confidence that it will help you in your battle against hair loss.